MADISON VAUGHN ’21
Jacob Hacker, a political science professor at Yale and coauthor of American Amnesia: How the War on Government Led Us to Forget What Made America Prosper, spoke on “How Politics is Undermining the American Dream” at Trinity on Wednesday, Feb. 28.
Hacker began his talk by speaking on the major differences between the Democratic and Republican parties in the US. Hacker claims both parties are moving further away from being moderate, especially the Republican Party under President Trump, which Hacker refers to as “Trumpism.” Hacker expanded on this idea of Trumpism by exploring contentious policies supported by Trump such as the Tax Reform Bill that was issued in late 2017. This bill explores the issue of the Trump’s voters from the elite class benefitting from his policies while his voters from the lower class receive nothing as it is expected that by 2027 most U.S. citizens will experience an increase in taxes while the upper class receives a cut in taxes.
Additionally, Hacker discussed the geographical layout of the country in relation to the population’s associate by political party. Most U.S. citizens consider themselves Republicans, however most in major urban areas consider themselves Democrats. Hacker explained that because of this, the Democrats are often able to receive the popular vote due to the massive city populations, but have a difficult time gaining a majority in the House and the Senate. The 2016 election is a perfect example of this theory with Clinton gaining most of her votes in urban areas, receiving the popular vote, but Trump gained the rural population, ultimately allowing him to receive the most votes in most states.
Hacker ended his talk by proposing the idea of moderate parties being the best way to run the country. Hacker supported this by claiming that the moderate Republican presidents in the past were the most prosperous times in the country’s history. Trumpism is going against this claim, Hackers aid, by bringing the Republican party further and further to the right. It has many dangers attached to it such as a lack of checks and balances, as well as policies being passed very quickly. Hacker’s theory for fixing Trumpism is to use policies of prevention, specifically by trying to prevent inequality before it occurs. Hacker ended on an optimistic note stating that a good place for the country to begin fighting
Trumpism is to start investing in climate change, infrastructure, and caring for struggling communities throughout the U.S.